To say that it is tough for an LLM grad to get a job in the US is an understatement, but it is not impossible. However, if you are limiting that job to working for a "big firm" then maybe you are bordering on impossible.
Big law firms in the US are probably some of the most risk averse organizations in the world. If they are going to hire you, it is for one primary reason... you are going to bring a lot of new business to the firm.
The harsh reality is that LLM degrees do not get the same respect as JD degrees in the US. In addition to your LLM degree you will need to have significant experience plus a developed network before any 'big firm' would probably consider your application.
However, if you can set your sights lower and go to a region in the US where foreign LLM students are more rare, you can have a successful transition to a legal career in the United States.... if you work at getting a position from the day you start your LL.M. studies.
I have been teaching/mentoring LL.M. students for a decade now, first at Columbia and now in the hinterlands of Mississippi following my retirement. My experience has been that if a foreign LL.M. is willing to work at getting a position and they are not in the flooded markets on the coasts, they have been able to achieve success.
Thank you for your reply.
You're correct in saying "The harsh reality is that LLM degrees do not get the same respect as JD degrees in the US" thats bad enough for LLM students, but we're talking about foreign LLM students with no US work experience ... which is even worse.
My research indicates it is infact impossible for a foreign LLM student to find an employer (big or small law firm) to sponsor an H1B. A foreign student requires a work permit like an H1B or L1 (if already employed in a different country) to work in the USA de facto.
There is no way you can work in the US in a big law firm or a small law firm or even in a shop as a sales assistant for that matter without a work permit (H1B being the most common one)
Small law firms do not have the resources neither the time to recruit & sponsor an H1B, large law firms who have the resources will not as you yourself have just said, so I dont understand what you mean by saying "However, if you can set your sights lower and go to a region in the US where foreign LLM students are more rare, you can have a successful transition to a legal career in the United States"
So to recap
1) Large law firms will not hire a foreign LLM with no US work ex as you yourself have correctly said.
2) Small law firms do not have the resources to sponsor (head over to H1B database for proof) an H1B, and an "alien" requires an H1B,
3) None of the Indians in this thread since its inception in 2012 has been able to find a job (big or small) and stay on or they would have mentioned it as they're all reading (I'm sure Shivani is)
The only person who was forth coming & told us the reality of the situation is Jitana, the rest just kept quiet most likely because they couldn't find work in the US & stay on.
I guess the universities know this but they just keep shut as they get a lot of money from foreign students.
Sorry if this seems harsh but for someone like me who is not wealthy (need a large loan) or well connected it would be foolhardy to spend borrow a large amount of money & head to USA on the hope of getting a job after graduation so I have to do my research no matter what you or Harvard says.
PS> Many thanks to Jitana for telling it like it is, shes the one who inspired me to research the job prospects &it appears shes correct in saying "NO NOT EXPECT TO FIND A JOB HERE. Sorry for the caps but in our class of about 145, I know of about six (including myself) who are employed right now" .. this was back in 2014,
If anyone else has been able to find a job & stay on please speak up
[Edited by amita_gupta on Aug 16, 2017]